Hackers Attempt to Sell Private Messages of 81,000 Facebook Users

Hackers Attempt to Sell Private Messages of 81,000 Facebook Users

Hackers Attempt to Sell Private Messages of 81,000 Facebook Users

"We have contacted browser makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores and to share information that could help identify additional extensions that may be related", Facebook's vice president of product manager, Guy Rosen, said in a statement.

Without naming the extensions, Facebook explains that these malicious extensions quietly monitored users' activity, and sent data back to the hackers, without the users' knowledge. The BBC contacted five Russian Facebook users and confirmed that the Facebook messages being offered for sale were real.

According to the BBC, numerous users whose details have been compromised are based in Ukraine, Russia, the UK, US, Brazil and elsewhere. All of the messages breached were of a personal nature, from the tame subject of dicussing a music concert to the more explicit.

Facebook maintains that its security has not been compromised and that the data in question had probably been obtained through malicious browser extensions. The breach was discovered in September when a user named FBSaler put out an ad on an English-language internet forum offering access to the data at 10 cents a handle. Rosen said the social network had notified law enforcement, had the website hosting the Facebook account data had been taken down.

Digital Shadows also confirmed that personal information such as phone numbers and email addresses from another 176,000 accounts was published, but that it may have been scraped because the accounts in question had not hidden it.

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The attacks, first reported by the BBC Russian Service, were focused heavily on users in Central and Eastern Europe, with minimum focus on people in the U.S.

The still-unidentified hackers were asking for $0.10 per account, according to the report.

Ireland's Data Protection Commission (DPC), which is Facebook's lead privacy regulator in Europe, has opened a formal investigation into this data breach that could result in a fine of $1.63 billion.

Why the huge difference between the hackers' claimed 120 million accounts and perhaps just 81,000 accounts, according to Digital Shadows?

The BBC said there was reason to believe the 120 million claim was exaggerated.

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